Category Archives: Book Review

Divine Makeover- Author Interview and Book Giveaway

 

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Into a teen girl’s world ruled by selfies, and the illusive self-worth tied to them, comes Sharla Fritz’s Divine Makeover.

This is not a stuffy book that ignores or condemns the desire for acceptance through physical appearance and fashion, but rather puts that into perspective with the source of real beauty: a faith in Jesus Christ that makes us holy.

DiVineblogtour_2This fun and reflective Bible study can be read alone, with a best friend, or with a group of friends.

Would you like to win a copy? Read the  Q&A with author Sharla Fritz and leave a comment below by midnight Thursday, April 24 (2014).

Everyone who comments will be added to the drawing. (Winner will be announced Friday, April 25th!)

 

Why did God prompt you to write this book?

After my first Bible study, Divine Design, came out, I heard about some groups of mothers and daughters doing the book together. It was so exciting that women of all ages could come together and discover their true beauty in Christ. But I thought young women would enjoy having a book that taught the same principles while using examples of their own struggles. So I wrote Divine Makeover—essentially Divine Design for a younger generation.

What struggles do you see the younger generation having?

I remember as a teen thinking that no one would ever think I was beautiful, no one would ever love me. Almost all of us go through an awkward stage where we doubt our beauty and worth. (Some of us never outgrow that stage!)

Plus, in this age, the emphasis on physical beauty is greater than ever before. Celebrities are scrutinized for their hair styles, makeup, and clothing choices. Ordinary girls are slammed when they don’t wear the coolest brands. Every year hundreds of thousands of teens are so dissatisfied with their looks that they resort to plastic surgery.

I’m hoping that Divine Makeover will help young women discover their worth not in what clothes they are wearing on the outside, but on the clothing of their character.

How did you get the young women’s point of view for this book?

Admittedly, I am a long way from the teen years! So I met with some amazing teens at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, Illinois every week. They candidly shared their views and struggles. I was truly impressed with this group of young women who clearly loved the Lord. Their faith and commitment to serve was very inspiring. Some of their words and stories are included in the book.

You talk about some myths of modesty? What are they?

I think three modern myths of modesty are: Modesty is old-fashioned, modesty means wearing a burlap bag, and modesty means following a strict set of clothing rules.

Modesty is an enduring principle because the Bible tells us that “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1Timothy 2:9). Because God’s Word never goes out of style, this advice is not just for women of Timothy’s day, but for us too.

We might think that if we dress modestly we can’t be stylish, but that isn’t necessarily true. It may mean that we have to adapt styles: wearing a camisole under a too-low top, adding leggings to a dress that’s a bit too short, or wearing a cute jacket or sweater over a top that’s too form-fitting.

I have seen sites and books that give strict rules for lengths of skirts and depths of necklines. But I think rules sometimes beg to be broken, so I think a better way to view modesty is as a way to dress with respect: respect for the beauty God gave you, respect for God’s Word, and respect for the gift of sexuality—which God has reserved for marriage.

What are some of the other topics discussed?

Divine Makeover is a “What Not to Wear” for the soul. It talks about hanging up the uniform and letting go of your inner control freak. It encourages young women to get rid of the handbag of worry and live with an attitude of trust. It tosses out the prom dress of pride, the boots of selfishness, the bitterness sweater, and anything the color of envy green. Instead, in Christ we can wear humility, love, forgiveness, and contentment.

You include some dramatic stories of teens who struggled with their self-image. Tell us about them.

Yes. Some young women graciously shared their stories with me. One young woman battled anorexia for a time in her life. When she looked in the mirror, she saw herself as fat, even though she definitely wasn’t. She bravely shared her story of how she eventually discovered that she had become obsessed with food and a totally skewed view of her body. Eventually she learned to choose to see herself as God saw her—His much-loved daughter.

Another young woman discovered she had alopecia. She lost all of her hair. In this society that worships thick, long manes of hair, she struggled to see herself as beautiful. She doubted that any man would ever love her. She has never regained her hair, but she has regained a healthy self-image because of her trust in God.

Both of these women are now in their twenties and happily married.

What practical tips do you share with readers?

The book concentrates on our inner beauty, but does have some fashion fun. Every chapter ends with some Fashion Finesse: a few words about finding the right clothes, building a wardrobe, and looking your best. Some of the practical tips include choosing a cute yet useful purse, finding your best colors, and discovering the best style of sweater for your shape. After the chapter on the prom dress of pride, I included seven tips for a fabulous formal.

What one thing should potential readers know about this book?

I pray that every girl who reads this book will take away one important truth: that in Christ she is beautiful. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we always look lovely in God’s looking glass. Our heavenly Father sees us not as we are, with our mammoth mistakes, our messy sins, our major bedhead. He sees us as we will be—perfect. The Bible tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Tell everyone a little more about yourself.

I’m a Christian speaker and author who loves to communicate the truth of God’s transforming grace. I love meeting women around the country at retreats and conferences.

I live in the Chicago suburbs with my husband, who is the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church. Together we shared the adventure of homeschooling for 15 years with our two children. They are all grown up now and moved away from home. My daughter moved far from home—she now lives in China!

In my other life I am a church musician and piano teacher. I love traveling (especially to China!), going out to lunch with friends, and reading. If I’m not sitting at the piano or my computer you might find me at the thrift store stalking fabulous fashion finds.

Anything else you’d like to share about this book?

Divine Makeover has eight chapters with each chapter having five days of devotions and Bible study questions. A girl could read it on her own, with or without doing the questions. But it would be even more fun to do with a group of gabby girlfriends!

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Don’t forget to leave a comment before midnight Thursday, April 24 (2014) for a chance to win a FREE copy of Divine Makeover. Winner to be announced Friday, April 25th.

Also, for a chance to win a Divine Makeover basket, visit the Sharla Fritz Divine Makeover Blog Tour page on Facebook and share your makeover story. Winners of that basket will be announced there on Facebook on May 2.

Plucked from 9/11’s Fire

This article published in A/G News by Dan Van Veen:

The 9/11 testimony of Twin Towers survivor and Assemblies of God

minister, Stanley Praimnath, originally given at Parkcrest Assembly

of God in Springfield, Missouri, will air on the Focus on the Family

radio program across the country on September 11, 2013.

41W5S4SWSZLTwelve years ago, Praimnath was on the 81st floor of Tower Two of the World Trade Center when terrorists crashed a jetliner into the building. Through a series of miraculous events, God brought Praimnath safely from the tower. Praimnath’s testimony will be shared on the radio program in memory of this tragic day in United States’ history.

Praimnath, who was the Sunday School superintendent for Bethel Assembly of God in Ozone Park, Queens, New York, in September 2011, says God has used him over the years to spread the gospel at churches, schools, colleges and other venues. He even wrote a book, “Plucked From the Fire,” (http://s2.ag.org/praimnath911) about the experience.

Yet, as he continued work in the banking industry, he admits that it was at first difficult for him to speak and witness to people. “I had this recurring dream that kept telling me I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing,” he says.

After receiving prayer from his friend and former Parkcrest pastor, Scott Temple — who is now director for AG Ethnic Relations — Praimnath says he knew exactly what he needed to do. He enrolled in Berean Bible courses (http://globaluniversity.edu) and today he is a credentialed AG minister and the associate pastor at Bethel Assembly, Jim Persram, senior pastor.

“The day I registered for my first Berean class, I stopped having that dream,” says Praimnath, who continues to travel and share his testimony when called. “I’ve never had [the dream] again.”

Praimnath says he believes he’s currently experiencing the most joyous time of his life, sharing God’s message with others. “The easiest thing for me to do now is witness — it used to be an effort,” he says. “I feel so blessed.”

The Focus on the Family rebroadcast of Praimnath’s testimony can be heard on radio networks as well as received on an iPhone, iPad Touch or Android devices with the proper app (click here

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/mobile.aspx and scroll to the “Daily Broadcast App” links). His testimony is also a part of the AG’s “Nothing’s Too Hard for God” campaign

(http://nothingstoohardforgod.org/fear).

–Dan Van Veen

 

Daughter of Scarlet – Book Review

There is nothing better than the story of a life deemed hopeless suddenly facing a brighter tomorrow.

Author Bonnie Winters gives the reader exactly that in this fictional account of the true Bible character, Rahab, the prostitute of Jericho. Written from Rahab’s point of view, this is both a good and worthy read.

Bonnie’s characters are well-rounded, involved in conflict, and reveal diverse emotions as they are moved through the plot via dialogue, narration, and a touch of romance.

The setting itself gives the reader a glimpse of Jericho from the inside and what it might have felt like when the Israelites marched around the walls day after day in silence–not to mention getting the perspective of a woman trapped in a lifestyle she was forced into.

For any woman with a tainted past who wonders how she could possibly find favor with a Holy God, this is a beautiful account of mercy and redemption when it seemed most impossible. And that is the authors intrinsic message.

Her inspiration for this novel came after hearing the realities of human sex trafficking. A pastor’s wife, mentor, and grandmother, Bonnie Winters has a heart for reaching the hurting people of the world. In fact, she donates the profits from the sales of Daughter of Scarlet to various ministries around the world, including ours.

You can read an excerpt here.

The book can be purchased by e-mailing Bonnie directly at bwinters@bonniewinters.com, or through her website www.bonniewinters.com. Please indicate to where you prefer the profit donated: A rescue ministry (for victims of human trafficking) or to our work among the indigenous women here in Southern Mexico.

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What other’s have said about the book:

Daughter of Scarlet is a masterful blend of fiction with Biblical truth. – Patricia Protzman, Faithwriters 500 member

No one makes a Bible story come alive better than Bonnie Winters. – Delia Latham, author of Goldeneyes and Yesterday’s Promise

This would be…a great gift and well worth the purchase – Cheryl Turnbull, Mentoring Women in Ministry